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Improved User Experience with Semantic Zoom

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Semantic Zoom is a new touch optimized feature in Windows 8 to present and navigate large sets of content within a single view and to display data controls that leverage deferred loading. As a result, it can be a container for very large data sets and it visualizes a single or large data set. With the help of semantic zoom, users can zoom in to inspect individual records or zoom out to see a group of data in a consumable, secondary visualization. From that view, users can select a data group or segment, zoom in and navigate to the selected records automatically.

Semantic Zoom works only with controls which implements ISemanticZoomInformation or IZoomableView interfaces. As of the time of this writing, only GridView and ListView control provide support for these two interfaces. Moreover, they have the ability to transition from one to the other according to the user interaction.

"Semantic Zoom should not change the scope of the data. It just shows the same data in two views", says Jerry Nixon, developer evangelist at Microsoft. It can be triggered by using a pinch zoom gesture provided by touch interface or by using the mouse wheel in combination with control key. Alternatively, you can make use of Ctrl+ or Ctrl- keyboard combinations.

Semantic Zoom differs from deep zoom where you arrange different images and then use your mouse wheel to perform zoom operations to view enlarged portion of the image being zoomed. On the other hand, semantic zoom is different from optical zoom where you use your mouse to enlarge the items inside a particular location such as Bing maps.

"Semantic Zoom is a very cool feature and we are certainly excited about the Windows 8 platform", says Mehul Harry, software developer at Developer Express Inc.


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